William W Davis.

History of Whiteside County, Illinois from its earliest settlement to 1908 : illustrated, with biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Volume v.1) online

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Online LibraryWilliam W DavisHistory of Whiteside County, Illinois from its earliest settlement to 1908 : illustrated, with biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Volume v.1) → online text (page 63 of 72)
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a bookkeeper in connection with the government works at Sterling, married
Miss Nellie Eisel and has one son, Homer. Frank W., who is on a ranch in
Colorado, married Mabel Crouch and they have two sons, Warren and Llewel-
lyn. Earl died in infancy. Lottie A. is the wife of Richard Proctor, of Coleta.
Nellie A. is the wife of Ralph Overholser, of Coleta. Maurice A., who com-
pletes the family, is attending business college and resides at home.

The parents and their children are members of the Congregational church
and the family is one of social prominence. Mr. Powers is a stalwart republican
who has continuously supported the party yet has never sought office as a
reward for party fealty. In February, 1906, having sold the farm, with his
wife, he removed to Sterling, erecting a beautiful brick residence at No. 105
Sixth avenue, where they are now pleasantly located. They have many
friends in the city and throughout the county where they have lived con-
tinuously since their marriage.


George N. Mason, efficiently filling the position of postmaster at Erie,
is a native of Cheshire, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, born July 4, 1856.
His parents, James and Abigail (Conn) Mason, were also natives of Berk-
shire county and passed away in Hebron, Illinois, where their remains were
Interred. The father was a farmer and dairyman throughout his entire
life. Soon after his arrival in Illinois he rented an extensive farm and
thereon conducted a dairy business, milking over one hundred cows. He was
sent to Walworth, Wisconsin, to manage a cheese factory and continued
there for two seasons, making the first cheese at that place. His business
interests were carefully conducted and he was a man of industry and enter-
prise. His family numbered seven sons and five daughters, George N.
Mason being the third child. Two daughters and five sons are yet living.
One daughter, Belle, who was a successful teacher for a long period, died
December 15, 1907. The eldest daughter, Ida, died in Chicago of smallpox
shortly after the great fire in that city in 1871. All of the sons of the
family are engaged in the creamery business.

When eight years of age George N. Mason accompanied his parents to
Hebron, McHenry county, Illinois, where he was reared upon a farm until




twenty-four years of age. He acquired his education in the district schools
and though his opportunities were somewhat limited he has learned many
valuable lessons in the school of experience. As his father was conducting
u dairy farm the son learned the business of making butter and cheese,
becoming a practical and expert manufacturer in those lines. In 1879 he
removed to Erie, where he has since made his home, and in the intervening
years he has ever commanded and enjoyed the respect, confidence and good
will of his fellow townsmen. Following his arrival here, he accepted the
management of the creamery owned by Hubbard & Burchell, continuing in
that position for four years, on the expiration of which period lie purchased
the business and conducted it under his own name for a number of years.
Subsequently he established a factory at Port Byron and the rapid increase
in his business eventually made the daily output of butter at Erie twenty-
two hundred pounds and at Port Byron one thousand pounds. The excel-
lence of the product made it a very marketable commodity and he was
always able to command the highest prices. After continuing in the cream-
ery business for some time Mr. Mason opened a general mercantile store
in Erie and in connection with its conduct also continued to manage the
creamery business for a time. Later, however, he disposed of the latter and
concentrated his energies upon his mercantile interests. He carried on his
creamery and store for about fifteen years. In commercial circles he has
gained an enviable reputation as one whose methods will bear the closest
investigation and scrutiny and he bases his business moves upon the rules
which govern strict and unswerving integrity and industry.

Mr. Mason has now filled the position of postmaster for ten and a half
years, having been appointed by President McKinley during his first admin-
istration. It was then a fourth-class office, but since has .been raised to a
third-class with three rural free delivery routes and one star route. His
administration of the office is entirely satisfactory to the general public,
who find him a courteous, obliging official, who is, moreover, prompt in the
discharge of all business. He has likewise been president of the village
board for a year, was president of the board of education for six years and
president of the cemetery commission. His political allegiance has always
been given to the republican party, of which he is a stalwart champion,
doing everything in his power to promote the growth and insure the success
of his party.

In 1880 Mr. Mason was married to Miss Elizabeth R. Soothill, who was
born near Halifax, Yorkshire, England, July 22, 185'6. She Avas brought to
the United States at the age of six months by her parents, Joseph and Char-
lotte (Maxwell) Soothill, who located at Harvard, McHenry county, Illinois,
where Mrs. Mason resided until her marriage. She proved to her husband a
faithful companion and helpmate on life's journey for more than a quarter
of a century and was called to her final home January 12, 1907. She was a
successful teacher for a long period, having taught thirty-seven terms of
.school and was a lady of innate culture and refinement, who enjoyed in
large measure the esteem and friendship of all with whom she came in
contact. Mr. and Mrs. Mason were the parents of a son and daughter.


The elder, Charles S., who acquired his education in the schools of Erie and
in a business college at Davenport, Iowa, was afterward employed in the
First National Bank in Morrison, Illinois, and is now receiving teller of the
Corn Belt Bank of Kansas City. He was married in 1904 to Miss Mary A.
Walker, of Moline, Illinois, who died September 18, 1906, leaving one
daughter, Marjorie, who is now with her grandfather Mason. Lois May,
who was educated in music in Chicago and had become a teacher in that
art, died October 1, 1907, at the age of twenty-two years. Mr. Mason owns
an attractive home in Erie and also has other property. His realty inter-
ests in the village are represented by four dwellings and two business blocks,
and he also owns two hundred acres of rich and valuable farming land in
one body in Fenton and Newton townships. He was made a Mason at the
age of twenty-one years in Hebron, Illinois, and now affiliates with the lodge
at Erie. For the past thirty years he has been a consistent member of
Christ's Adelphian church. He is a congenial friend and a popular citizen,
who enjoys the good will and confidence of his fellow townsmen in an
unusual degree.


Although one of the younger members of the Morrison bar, his years
do not seem to impede his progress and Harry J. Ludens is working his way
upward to a prominent place among the legal practitioners of this city. He
was born in Garden Plain township in 1874. a son of John P. and Dorothy
(Vandenberg) Ludens, both of whom were natives of Holland. In the year
1866 the father came with his family to the United States, settling in New
York, where he worked at farm labor by the month. He afterward spent
a year in Wisconsin and in 1868 came to Illinois, locating in Fulton, where
he worked at day labor for some time. His unfaltering industry and careful
expenditure at length brought him the capital that enabled him to make
investment in property and in 1883 he purchased eighty acres of land on
section 31, Ustick township. Whiteside county. With characteristic energy
he began the further development and improvement of this farm, upon which
he spent his remaining days. His life was one of untiring activity and use-
fulness and he provided a comfortable living for his family. A devoted
member of the Dutch Reform church, he served as one of its officers for
many years and did what he could for its growth and upbuilding. In politics
he was a republican and served on the school board, but was not an aspirant
for public office. He died in 1893 at the age of fifty-four years and is still
survived by his widow, who is now living in Chicago at the age of sixty-seven.
She, loo, is a member of the Dutch Reform church. Their family numbered
fourteen children : Jennie, who became the wife of Jacob Sternberg and
passed away in 1888; Annie, the wife of David Sternberg. an agriculturist
of Ustick township; Peter, who makes his home in Montana; Lizzie, who
wedded Fred M. Dykema, a railroad man of Virden, Illinois; Harry J., of


this review; Jacob J., an attorney at law of Sterling, Illinois; John M., a
student in Knox College at Galesburg: David, a civil engineer in the employ
of the Great Northern Railroad Company in Montana; and Mattie, the wife
of William J. Parr, an engineer on the Pennsylvania System in Chicago.
The others have passed away.

Harry J. Ludens was reared to farm life, spending his boyhood day*
under the parental roof, his time being divided between the work of the
fields and the acquirement of an education. He attended the country schools
and the Northern Illinois College at Fulton, Illinois. Before taking up the
college work, however, he was employed as a clerk in Fulton and from Sep-
tember, 1901, until 1906, he occupied a clerical position in the office of the
secretary of state at Springfield. While attending college he read law and
finished his studies while in the capital city. In the fall of 1903 he was
admitted to the bar and began the practice of law in November, 1908, at
Morrison. He has met with fair success here and his careful preparation of
cases and his continued study are winning for him success in the difficult
and arduous profession of the law.

Mr. Ludens is a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Eastern Star
and also affiliates with the Odd Fellows and the Mystic Workers. His polit-
ical allegiance is given to the republican party. He is well known in this
county, where much of his life has been passed and where he is so directing
his labors as to gain recognition as a strong and growing member of the
Whiteside county bar.


John B. Lewis, manager of the lumber business of James C. Simpson &
Company at Sterling, has also figured actively in the public life of the city
and stands for improvement and progress in every line. He is a native of
Indiana county, Pennsylvania. His paternal grandfather, Evan Lewis, was
born in Wales and followed the sea for a number of years, after which he
became a resident of Pennsylvania and gave his time and energies to general
agricultural pursuits. Subsequently he took up his abode in Albany, White-
side county, Illinois, where he died in 1872 at the age of eighty-three years.
His first wife, Agnes (Lyons) Lewis, Avas the grandmother of our subject.
She died many years ago in middle life and Evan Lewis afterward married
Jane Wallace.

David Lewis, a son of the first marriage, was born in Somerset county,
Pennsylvania, and became a by trade, carrying on business
along that line in Pennsylvania until the time of the Civil war. In 1865
he went to Kansas, settling near Olathe, Johnson county, and in 1868 he
arrived in Albany, Whiteside county, Illinois, where he devoted the greater
part of his time and attention to the cultivation of a fruit farm. There he
died in 1900, at the age of sixty-nine years. His wife survived him and
passed away at the home of her son Sheldon L. at the Brinington navy yard.


where he has a ranch. Her death occurred in December, 1905. when she was
sixty-eight years of age. Both Mr. and Mrs. David Lewis were members of
the Presbyterian church. Mrs. Lewis bore the maiden name of Elizabeth
Griffith and was a daughter of Abner Griffith, a native of Pennsylvania arid
of Quaker stock. Her father followed agricultural pursuits and died at Marion
Center, Pennsylvania, on the farm on which he had lived for fifty years
or more, being almost a nonagenarian at the time of his demise. His first
wife, Mrs. Elizabeth (Wisegarver) Griffith, died in early womanhood and he
afterward married again. The daughter, Elizabeth, was born of the first
marriage in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, and there she gave her hand
in marriage to David Lewis.

Twelve children were born of this union, ten sons and two daughters,
of whom ten are now living: Albert W., a resident of Albany, Illinois; John
B. ; Owen H., of Hendrum, Minnesota; Evan P., of Albany, Illinois; Shel-
don L., a twin of Evan, now living at the Brinington navy yard in Washing-
ton; James M.. of Helena, Montana, where he is practicing law; Annie L., the
wife of Walter Young, of Salt Lake City, Utah; Harry B., who is engaged in
the undertaking business at Overton, Nebraska; Agnes, the wife of John D.
Quick, an engineer at the smelter at Bingham Canyon, Utah; and Arthur L..
a millwright of the same place. The other two died in early childhood.

John B. Lewis came to Whiteside county in December, 1868, and attended
the public schools of Albany, after which he pursued a course in the Normal
School at Fulton under Professor Griffith. Later he pursued a business
course in the business college of Valentine & Lillibridge at Davenport, Iowa,
and when his education was completed he followed the Mississippi river as
clerk on a steamboat for six years during the summer seasons, while in the
winter months he taught school. He afterward entered a general mercantile
store at Albany, the style of the firm being Simpson & Lewis. Some time
later they sold the store and engaged in the lumber business at Cambridge,
Henry county, Illinois, removing thence to Galva, Illinois, in the same busi-
ness. In 1900 the James C. Simpson Lumber Company bought the lumber
business of John Peck in Sterling and Mr. Lewis has managed the business
since that time. They have a fine lumberyard and enjoy an extensive trade,
the development of the business being attributable in large measure to the
enterprise and capable management of Mr. Lewis.

On the 23d of December, 1892, John B. Lewis was married to Mis.?
Theodosia Simpson, a daughter of John and Eliza (Lewis) Simpson. Mr.
and Mrs. Lewis belong to the Congregational church and are prominent so-
cially, their pleasant home at No. 406 West Third street being justly cele-
brated for its gracious hospitality. They are both members of the Eastern
Star and Mr. Lewis belongs to Rock River Lodge, No. 612, A. F. & A. M..
and the Modern Woodmen of America and to the Mystic Workers. Politically
he is an earnest republican and in recent years has aided in 'shaping the
policy of his party in the city. He has served as supervisor from Albany
township for one term and in May. 1905, was elected mayor of Sterling, giving
to the city a public-spirited and businesslike administration. His labors for
the general good are always of a practical character and have been resulting


factors in promoting the city's welfare and improvement. In manner Mr.
Lewis is always approachable and is known as a genial gentleman of un-
feigned cordiality, while his many good qualities have gained for him warm
friendships and high regard.


Marvin W. Ingwersen, cashier of the Fulton Bank, has made steady prog-
ress in his business career until today he occupies a prominent place in finan-
cial circles and by the consensus of public opinion is numbered among the
leading business men of Whiteside county. He was born in Lyons, Iowa,
June 28, 1868, his parents being C. H. and Emma (Peters) Ingwersen, both
of whom were natives of Schleswig-IIolstcin. Germany. The father came
to America in 1852 and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but in 1853 re-
moved to Clinton, Iowa. The mother came a few years later, making her
way direct to Clinton, where they were married. Mr. Ingwersen followed
the occupation of farming and stock-raising for a number of years but in 187S
removed to Chicago, where he still makes his home. While in Iowa in
1S71 he was elected sheriff of Clinton county and served for one term. Fol-
lowing his removal to Chicago he became interested in the live-stock commis-
sion business, in which he is still engaged. His life has been one of intense
and well directed activity,, resulting in prosperity, and aside from his business
interests in the metropolis he is also president of the Iowa Savings Bank of
Lyons. Unto him and his wife were born three children : Julius, who is
associated in business with his fath'er; M. W., of this review; and Meta, the
wife of E. Puttkammer, of Chicago.

Following the removal of the family from Iowa to Chicago, M. W. Ing-
wersen pursued his education in the public schools of that city and at the
age of nineteen years took his initial step in the business world, being em-
ployed as bookkeeper and clerk in the City National Bank of Clinton, Iowa.
There he became familiar with the banking business in all of its departments
and was associated with the bank until 1890, when he withdrew and with
his father and others engaged in the packing business at Clinton, Iowa. Tho
succeeding seven years of his life were thus passed and on disposing of his-
interests in Clinton in 1897 he removed to South Omaha, where he engaged
in the live-stock commission business. This he followed until 1901 and in
the spring of 1902 he and others purchased the private bank of T, B. Ing-
wersen, of Fulton, and incorporated under the state banking laws. M. W.
Ingwersen was at that time elected cashier and has since continued in the
position. His previous experience in banking well qualified him for the re-
sponsible duties which now devolved upon him and he has made for himself
a creditable name in financial circles, carefully conducting the affairs of the
bank, so that it enjoys the entire confidence of the business pxiblic and receives
a liberal patronage.

On the 22d of November, 1902, Mr. Ingwersen was married to Miss
Florence M. Bolin. a daughter of Hugh and Mary Lowther Bolin, in whose


family were five children : Laura, now the wife of W. F. Vicroy ; Ada, the
wife of W. L. Park; Florence M., now Mrs. Ingwersen; Wallace, deceased;
and Hugh 1., who is living in Council Bluffs. Iowa.

Mr. Ingwersen takes quite an active interest in everything pertaining to
the growth and welfare of his adopted county and his aid and co-operation
can be counted upon to further many measures for the public good. He
votes with the democracy yet is liberal in politics and never bitterly, aggres-
sive. He holds today the only official position that he has ever filled, that of
alderman, for he has always preferred to concentrate his time and energies
upon his business affairs rather than to seek or fill office. There have been
no sensational chapters in his business career but on the contrary he has
followed the honest, slow-moving processes which eventually lead to success.
Through experience he has learned many points of value concerning the man-
agement of important business interests and his sound judgment and enter-
prise are continually manifest in his career.



They were a sturdy band of people, the old pioneers and early settlers
who came to Whiteside county, seeking a more favorable district than the
overcrowded east. They were people of strong and noble character, with a
determination that enabled them to combat with the trials and hardships and
deprivations of the new west. Such conditions developed not only physical
powers of endurance but also brought forth the moral, kindly and generous
attributes of manhood and womanhood. There was something so akin to
nature in all their surroundings, in the vastness of the boundless prairies, in
the waving grasses, wild and rank, and in the uncut forests, which constituted
the freedom and beauty of the new world, that the best and strongest in men
were brought out and developed. When an individual came to the west he
largely left his past behind him and was judged by his personal worth and
the manner of his conduct. His surroundings were such as to stir the heart's
best impulses and develop a hospitality, a kindliness, a benevolence and char-
ity unknown and unpracticed in the older, richer and more densely populated
commonwealths. Whiteside county is today numbered among the rich and
prosperous counties of the state, but it owes much of its character and its
splendid advancement to the influences established by its early pioneers.

Among the first settlers who came to Whiteside county and left the im-
press of their individuality upon its upbuilding and progress was Luther B.
Wetherbee, of Barry, Massachusetts, who settled on section 12, Sterling town-
ship, in 1838. The founder of the Wetherbee family in America settled in
Massachusetts at an early period in the colonization of the new world and
one of his descendants, Charles Wetherbee, was a soldier in the patriot arrny in
the battle of Lexington. The religious principles of the family have remained
the same for centuries, as succeeding generations have been connected with
ihu Congregational church. Luther B. Wetherbee had formerly been a steam-


litter but upon coming west he turned his attention to farming interests, in
which he was very successful. He possessed more than ordinary ability and
marked force of character. In all public affairs he took a deep interest and
was ever ready to lend his aid to movement? and measure? calculated to pro-
mote the county's welfare. He stood fearless in defense of what he believed to
be right and his life was actuated by the spirit of Christianity. He was the
founder of the Congregational church in Sterling and one of its most earnest
and effective workers. In politics he was also a factor and was recognized as a
stanch republican. Material, social, intellectual, political and moral progress
were promoted through his labors and Whiteside county benefited greatly by
his work. His wife, who prior to her marriage was Charlotte Adams, was also
u native of Massachusetts and traces her lineage back to the Mayflower, being
a direct descendant of John Quincy Adams.

Luther. Wetherbee built the first frame house between Sterling and Sugar
Grove. Soon after his settlement in Sterling township there was an attempt
made by some foreign parties to appropriate a part of his land that he had
entered from the government and the erection of a building was undertaken.
Mr. Wetherbee, however, informed the land committee and soon afterward,
upon a certain night, the partly completed building was entirely destroyed,
after which there was no further attempt made to seize Mr. Wetherbee's rights.
For seventy years the name of Wetherbee has figured prominently and hon-
orably in the history of this section of the state. Born in 1809, Luther Weth-
erbee died November 6, 1873, and thus ended a useful career, the county being
thereby deprived of a most valued citizen.

Charles Adam Wetherbee, whose name introduces this record, a son of
Luther B. and Charlotte (Adams) Wetherbee, was born on the old homestead
farm in Sterling township, December 17, 1839. Few. if any, of those who re-
side today within the borders of the county can claim so long a residence as
this native son. He attended the public schools, which were somewhat primi-
tive in character owing to the fact that this was a frontier district. Later,
however, he had the opportunity of attending school at Kalamazoo, Michigan,
and was there preparing for a collegiate course when Civil war was inaugu-
rated and thus his school life ended, for in answer to the call for troops to
crush out the rebellion in the south he offered his services to the government
and in September, 1861, enlisted as a member of the Thirty- fourth Regiment
of Illinois Infantry. At the front he participated in the battles of Atlanta,
Shiloh, Liberty Gap, Stone River and others. He was taken prisoner at the
battle of Stone River but was recaptured by the Union forces before leaving the
field. He has a very vivid recollection of the sensation experienced in looking
into the end of a loaded revolver held in the hand of an enemy and can testify
to the persuasive influence felt under such conditions. After a military service
of three years, during which time he experienced all the vicissitudes and hard-

Online LibraryWilliam W DavisHistory of Whiteside County, Illinois from its earliest settlement to 1908 : illustrated, with biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Volume v.1) → online text (page 63 of 72)